MUMBAI (Reuters) – Auction house Sotheby’s has sent its top India executive on a leave of absence pending a probe into anonymous allegations of sexual misconduct.
Gaurav Bhatia, the managing director of Sotheby’s India, has agreed to take leave of absence as a formal inquiry is underway into anonymous allegations on social media, Sotheby’s said in a statement, just days ahead of its first auction in the country.
“Harassment of any type has no place at Sotheby’s and we will thoroughly investigate these allegations with Gaurav’s full cooperation,” it added.
Bhatia did not respond to an email seeking comment.
Sotheby’s did not say who would conduct the probe into the allegations against Bhatia. It plans to go ahead with its inaugural auction scheduled in India’s financial capital of Mumbai on Nov 29.
The #MeToo campaign against sexual harassment, which began in the United States’ entertainment industry, gained traction in India earlier this year after Bollywood actor Tanushree Dutta accused a co-actor of sexually harassing her on a movie set a decade ago.
The movement has since spread with prominent journalists, film personalities, and executives being named.
Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal; Editing by Clelia Oziel